"BlueBurstGreen" Mixed-Media by Eliza Lynn Tobin
I am taking a Yoga as Muse e-course with Jeffery Davis, author of the book, The Journey from the Center to the Page. This last week our discussion and creative practices were to revolve around the yogic idea of "tapas", a sanskrit word that means internal heat. It is experienced as a fire in the belly that drives us. In my art, I experience this type of burning to create, to get down and dirty with my hands in the paints and pencils for hours on end. But that burning desire is not always present. Sometimes I'd rather surf the internet or dive bomb books or clean the house, anything except make art. Sometimes my tapas dies out. This last week, Davis suggested to us that we need this internal heat to light our own creative fires and that we have the ability to build this heat when we need it through the practice of yoga. In his book he describes it as, "the burning enthusiasm that excites us when we discover a blue-sky idea, a delicious image,
"Watermelon Days" Mixed Media by Eliza Lynn Tobin
a tapestry woven plotline." For me, tapas feels like a flushed face and I am filled with a searing energy right in the center of my chest. So this past week, I decided to build heat, to build my own sense of tapas, before I picked up my brushes and pens. I added quicker sun salutations and more standing poses to my yoga practice and ended each session with Kapala-bhati kriya (breath work that raises heat). At the end of these practices, I felt warm and clear and I took this energy to work with me. The effects were long standing. I found myself itching to draw every moment that I was able to (at work, at a party, at home in front of the television). I made every day paintings, quick sharpie sketches that I filled in with the bright hues sitting in my colored pencil box. They came out as mini-abstracts that reflected my mind states. I was filled with that "burning enthusiasm" to make these over and over again. they were like little tapas color bursts.
"Sunwaves" Mixed-Media by Eliza Lynn Tobin
Today, however, I am not feeling this same heat and desire. I am not in the mood to make or to write, but I also haven't rolled out my mat yet. Perhaps its not to late.